This Was My Speech That I Delivered As First Affirmative Speaker On Our Interclass Debate That Tackled On The Topic Of Amending The Juvenile Justice Law Of The Philippines.

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Debate: Resolved that juvenile justice law must be amended

Thursday, January 12, 2012

9:10 PM

Santino stands in front of a courtroom. It was his first time to be in such a huge audience. But he wasn't going to deliver a declamation piece or render a vocal solo number. He was in fact charged with murder. Santino is ten years old. He is in grade four. And now, he is guilty of shooting an innocent man to death. But before he rose into the podium, Kuya Efren told him what to say so he can be spared. "I thought the gun wasn't real. Some men gave it to me and I thought it was just a toy." With an adorable puppy dog face plus the RA 9344, Santino goes home as a freeman. Next week, he will return to Kuya Efren's hideout and he might be on for another hit job.�

To our esteemed jurors and moderator, my fellow debaters, ladies and gentlemen, A pleasant morning to all.�

Santino is one of the many juvenile delinquents savoring the bounties of our bizarre justice system. According to RA 9344 or The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, minors aged 15 and below are exempted from criminal liability and minors aged 16 to 18 were declared exempt if they acted without discernment and allowed modification of the penalty if they did act with discernment.

Sounds pro-children right? I could only imagine how children's rights advocates would worship this law as if it were a deity. The birth of this law shows just how much we love our children. The state does not want them to suffer the stings of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. The state is concerned of their future. The state believes that they are still not fully equipped with mature moral judgment. But the state, to my and my team's opinion, is growing a little too one-sided. So I stand in front of you defending the other side of the coin. I stand in front of you defending those who agree that the Juvenile Justice Law must be amended.�

Why then is it necessary to amend RA 9344? Three points.�

1. In 2008, there are 2,158 crimes that involved under aged offenders. Two years after the promulgation of the law. That's 18% higher than 2007. Last year, there was a 90% increase in the number of juvenile crimes in Cebu. The presence of the law may have even propelled the cycle of violence. The child syndicates prosper because little boys like Santino can...

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